Sometimes we don’t find Bible plants. They find us! Their discovery is a reunion in our souls, an infusion of giddiness connecting us at once to God, His story, and His love—sweet delights and remembrances that parade right past intellect to the gentle place of knowing, soon resting in the quiet confidence of trusting.
Best Products of the Land
Visiting my mother-in-law earlier this year, I was drawn to an old cookbook of hers, Beard on Bread. I was just a few weeks into my bread adventure, and naturally the pun in this book title could not be passed by! Browsing through the recipes, one called to me with instant affinity: Pistachio Bread. O pistachio, so good to see you! One of Israel’s best:
Then their father Israel said to them…Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.
Genesis 43:11 NIV
I knew this was a taste-and-see moment I would not want to miss, so I borrowed the book to bring to you, dear gardeners! In the sweet tradition of Kay Cramm’s gracious hospitality, let us celebrate bread once more this Lenten season. Consider this a gift from her life devoted to receiving people with open arms and a brilliant smile. Everything she made was filled with butter and love (though she has joyfully given the baking baton to daughters-in-law and granddaughters!*), and this recipe does not disappoint. It goes beyond sustenance to a whorl of tasty—nearly a pastry! Perhaps a delicious addition to your upcoming Easter Brunch.
Adapted from James Beard, Beard on Bread, 1973
Prepare your favorite bread dough, let rise once, punch down. Turn out onto floured surface, let rest a few minutes. Roll out into rectangle approximately 18 by 12 inches.
Brush the surface with 1/ 4 cup melted butter
Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar and 1 cup chopped, salted pistachio nuts evenly across dough
Beginning on the long side, roll up the dough into a long, log-shaped roll. Form into a ring by joining ends together, and lift onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently slice the dough at 2 inch intervals, about 3/4 of the way down through the dough. Twist slightly to reveal the rolled layers, so that the interior of the slice is now facing upwards.
Let the ring rise in a warm, draft-free place to about double in bulk. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush entire surface with a beaten egg. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until nicely browned. For a softer crust, cover bread with a damp-to-wet towel while cooling.
Best Promises of the Land
Because of the pistachio connection to the land of ancient Israel (Genesis 43:11), I lingered in the story this morning of the land promised to Abraham and his descendants, secured generations later under the leadership of Joshua.
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
Joshua 23:14 NIV
Every promise fulfilled! What refuge to be found in such a powerful proclamation. O Lord, thank you for these sustaining words. For all that I am waiting on and struggling with, let me be reminded that your every promise has been fulfilled.
Find more information about pistachio at http://gardenndelight.wpengine.com/plant-guide/pistachio
*and Kay’s sons (that’s my Topher) love to be in the kitchen, too!
Photo Credits: © 2015 Shelley S. Cramm Rolled with chopped pistachios, butter, and sugar, and brushed with beaten egg, regular bread dough becomes a sweet feast and remembrance of the promises fulfilled in the land of Israel (Genesis 43:11, Joshua 23:14).